Telehealth visits soar as Emory Healthcare keeps patients and doctors connected during pandemic

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Aug. 14, 2020

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Janet Christenbury
jmchris@emory.edu

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Emory Connected Care enables patients to consult with their health care providers from the comfort of their home using telehealth technologies, such as a webcam or mobile device with a camera.

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ATLANTA – Emory Healthcare has seen exponential growth in its telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 215,000 visits conducted between patients and their health care providers from mid-March through July 2020. Prior to COVID’s arrival, Emory Healthcare conducted several telehealth visits per week in only two or three specialty areas. Since mid-March, Emory has been conducting an average of 12,000 visits per week across 38 specialties. 

Emory Connected Care enables patients to consult with their health care providers from the comfort of their own home using telehealth technologies, such as a webcam or mobile device with a camera.

“The speed and quality in establishing a robust telehealth practice from very few visits a week to around 12,000 per week has been an amazing transformation,” says Gregory Esper, MD, MBA, associate chief medical officer at Emory Healthcare and lead of Emory’s systemwide telehealth initiatives. “Our thanks go out to the many dedicated team members at Emory Healthcare who have helped us maintain important provider connections with our patients during these challenging times. We are pleased to be able to offer telehealth visits to our patients to meet their needs.” 

During the second half of March, Emory Healthcare conducted more than 3,500 visits. That number soared to more than 49,000 visits in April. In May through July, telehealth visits averaged nearly 55,000 per month. During the COVID-19 peak in April, when in-person doctor’s appointments were limited, Emory Healthcare conducted 57 percent of its visits via telehealth. 

“These remarkable achievements, supported by tremendous behind-the-scenes efforts, have allowed our patients to continue seamless care with their health care providers during the COVID-19 crisis,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, president and CEO of Emory Healthcare. “While many of our specialty areas are now gradually and safely resuming in-person appointments, telehealth has been an essential offering to patients, and many continue to use this service for their care.” 

Specialty areas with the highest volume of telehealth visits have been in primary care, orthopaedics and spine and brain health (neurology, rehabilitation medicine, sleep center and psychiatry). About 30 percent of patients continue to use telehealth as their preferred choice of care at Emory.

Emory Healthcare recognizes the important role telehealth will continue to play in the future beyond COVID-19. We continue to partner with payers and governmental agencies to ensure patients continue to have access to this important health resource to provide flexibility and choice between in-person and telehealth to meet each patient’s unique needs. 

In the end, we want the community to know whether telehealth or in-person, Emory Healthcare is here to meet your care needs.

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